Ipswich Theatres Brand and Website Design
Ipswich Borough Council
In 2019, we won a tender with Ipswich Borough Council to develop the identities and website for their two theatre venues – the Regent Theatre and Corn Exchange.
Through stakeholder interviews and public questionnaires both online and on the street, we were able to create a strategy that was based on the current perceptions and future aspirations of both venues.
We found that the brand positions for the two venues sit slightly apart – one focusing on large-scale theatrical experiences and the other sits it a more informal music and comedy gig region. The ‘house of brands’ approach meant that we needed to develop two separate identities for the two venues, underpinned by Ipswich Theatres. We developed tonal values and personality traits for each, to flow through all communications within and beyond the organisation, which helped us define the differences in each theatre and experience.
The Regent Theatre identity focuses on rich heritage – during its 90 year history it can boast many legendary performances – there are many stories to be told. The logo takes the initial letter of the theatre – like that at the beginning of a storybook or newspaper article – to make a big, impactful stamp. The diagonal lines in the R show synergy with the sister venue, the Corn Exchange, and enhance the idea of overlap, sound and diversity. They also echo the Art Deco features of parallel lines that appear, often in the Regent Theatre interior.
The inspiration for the Corn Exchange logo came from the organ pipes that sit on the wall in the venue – a piece of history that has been with the building since 1975. The linear forms of the pipes create an equaliser, full of movement and a representation of sound – a feature of all of the entertainment at the venue offers. It also represents the idea of people connecting with the rich heritage and programming of the venue.
Following on from delivering the branding, we commenced the digital deliverables – a new website, social media platforms and email templates. It was critical to the success of the website to undertake a solid UX phase – this allowed us to identify the key audience groups and ascertain what they were trying to achieve on the website. We undertook a comprehensive research phase which involved qualitative and quantitative interviews and surveys with stakeholders and the general public, a sector audit, data analysis, and accessibility scoping. This enabled us to form a solid and robust digital strategy from which we could commence the design work.
The website requirement included integrations with the ticket booking system, Ticketsolve, and the traffic control system QIt. There was also the need to integrate with MailChimp and paid advertising tracking systems. It was important to translate the spirit and energy of the new branding into the digital landscape – we wanted the act of using the website to be memorable and seamless. The interface was carefully scoped to meet all WCAG AA accessibility guidelines, and tested in order to be sure that the hierarchy was enabling users to swiftly and smoothly undertake the key actions they want to undertake. Subtle animations we produced to signify the key interactive areas of content.